Smoke Free Restaurants & Bars

North Carolina’s Smoke Free Restaurant and Bars Law (PDF) was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by the Governor in May 2009, with an effective date of January 2, 2010. The law requires enclosed areas of almost all restaurants and bars to be smoke-free effective January 2, 2010. Smoking is also banned in enclosed areas of hotels, motels, and inns, if food and drink are prepared there. 

Permitted SmokingAltText

  • 20% of guest rooms in lodging establishments
  • Cigar bars that meet specific requirements
  • Private clubs - country clubs or organizations with selected membership - which are operated by the membership, have non-profit status, and provide restricted food and lodging services
  • Establishments that are exempt from the state's sanitation laws

Report Violations

If you observe or note a possible violation, please notify the owner or manager of the establishment. They are responsible for compliance and are required to direct a person who is smoking to extinguish the lighted tobacco product. This law will go into effect on January 2, 2010, at which time you will be able to file a complaint online or by telephone. Contact information for health departments can be found on the web site for the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors. Ultimately, businesses that are not following the smoke-free law may be issued warnings and/or fines for violating the law more than two times.